Wasei-eigo: 電子レンジ (microwave)


【 電子レンジ (denshirenji) 】microwave oven

In Japanese, we say 「チンする」for heating food in the microwave.

The word「チン」is an onomatopoeia of the timer bell in earlier models. Even though the timer bell has evolved into an electronic beeping sound, we still say「チンする」.

The food got cold. Let’s reheat it.

How many minutes?

Maybe two.

(bursting sound)

Oops, I overheated it!

Oh, dear.


Toshiba introduced the first domestically manufactured microwave in 1959. From there, Hitachi, Sharp, and Panasonic (all formerly under different names) came out with new microwaves one after the other.

The model that Panasonic introduced in 1963 propelled the popularization of microwaves, but microwaves were expensive at that time. The Panasonic model was 115万円 ($10,000). So it wasn’t until the late 1970s that general households were able to afford one at around $500.

Learn more wasei-eigo in the home here!

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